‘No’ is a complete sentence

No

If you’re like me, you’re a people-pleaser.  You’d rather avoid disappointing someone, so you say yes to more than you should.  You’re afraid someone might think you’re not a good friend, employee, sister, aunt, yoga teacher, etc. if you say no.  The reality is, you can’t be everything to everyone.  And if you think you can. you’re probably not truly ‘being there’ for anyone, especially yourself.

A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend about a situation in which I felt guilty for saying no.  I decided to put myself first for once, and said no to substituting a yoga class. The person who asked gave me some “not-so-subtle” non-verbal cues to let me know of their disappointment.   I found myself trying to justify my decision, when in reality it was the other person’s issue, not mine.  They were upset that they’d be inconvenienced, and yet I somehow took on the responsibility and the guilt (my issue).  WRONG.

What my friend said to me when I told her the story was, “No, is a complete sentence.”  It was so simple, and it made me start to think about how many times I’ve felt incredibly guilty for saying no or putting myself first. How many times did I rehearse a conversation in my head or replay one to see how I could say no with the least amount of hurt feelings? There were a lot.

So, how do we walk the line of being charitable and giving of ourselves without depleting our energy? What I’ve found out is that the people in your life who really care about you, don’t love you because what you can do for them.  They just love you.  The art of saying no will also reveal who really is in it just for them.  Saying no recently led me to lose someone as a friend which tells me they weren’t really much of a friend at all.

In yoga, bramacharya is often — mistakenly — thought of as ‘chastity’ or a preservation of one’s sexual energy.  But it’s really about moderating all of our energetic resources; allocating them consciously.

Many of us need to learn to conserve our personal energy as much as we try to conserve the electricity in hour homes. When we do, our personal energetic battery has a chance to recharge.  Then we truly CAN be there for others in a deliberate, complete, loving way.  When you are at your most joyous and fulfilled, you will bring that light to everyone you meet.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Photo: Ecosalon

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Are we afraid to just be happy?

relaxed frog

There are so many ‘happiness solutions’ out there today – from books to seminars to pills – promising that joy is just a spend away. We all want happiness as if it’s something that we have to save up to buy or earn.

In fact, I had a conversation with a mentor recently about finding peace through sacrifice. She looked at me as if I’d lost my mind, “What?”

“I mean, there are so many people that need so much and I can help. I feel selfish if I’ve got some downtime and I’m not using it to help someone in need or contribute in some way,” I said, “I mean if I want to be a truly spiritual person, shouldn’t I always be looking at how I can be of service? Look at Buddha, Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and everyone else who sacrifices themselves for others.”

She looked at me, and said, “We can’t all be Jesus.  And, I think that you doing things that bring you joy (whatever that is) brings joy to everyone around you.  And that joy ripples through everything you’re connected to.”

And there it was in my face. I realized that I was afraid to just do things that made me happy for fear that I was being less of a spiritual being.

We work so hard to achieve happiness, and yet, it’s always with us. Peace isn’t something that we have to earn by suffering, it’s there in spite of suffering.  We’re living longer and yet, don’t live much at all.

To quote George Carlin, “We’ve added years to life not life to years.”

Do you have to stop ‘giving back’? No.  But you can be of service in so many ways without sacrificing your own health and happiness.

No matter how someone approaches me or what they ask, I try to think to myself, “How can I be helpful?”

Sometimes that means I stop what I’m doing, and help carry something heavy for my neighbor, help a friend, or donate money or time.

And sometimes being helpful to others starts with being helpful to yourself first.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Wikimusiquita)

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When you can’t make everyone happy

I often joke about being like a Golden Retriever.  I’ve always been the person that tries to make others happy, and if I make someone unhappy, it makes my heart hurt.  And of course there’s the flood of obsessive thoughts on how I can rectify the situation.

At work, if you pat me on my head, I run off with my tail wagging looking to produce more biscuit-worthy results. When I’m teaching, I get immense satisfaction when I send students home feeling relaxed and accomplished. Even at the holidays, I’m happier giving gifts.  I love to watch people light up.

But we all know the age old saying, “You can’t make everyone happy all of the time.”

In fact, chances are if you made an enemy or pissed someone off it means that you stood up for something you believe in, or for yourself.

So how do us ‘people pleasers’ cope? First, recognize that it is exhausting to live for someone else’s happiness and begin to witness when you’re putting someone else first unnecessarily. Sure, you may have to put your child’s need for dinner above your own need for downtime, but I’m talking about the constant ‘back seat taking’ we do with our own energy.

We must bear witness when we find ourselves constantly deeming others’ happiness as more important than our own.  We have to do some soul-searching to understand why we feel the need to find ‘validation’ outside of our own being. And, we have to give ourselves the same amount of energy we give others, or we find ourselves depleted.

Does this mean that we should no longer try to help people or have compassion? No it doesn’t. It simply means, that we should stop trying to make others happy as a means to find satisfaction. It’s a short-lived attachment. Rather, allow your authentic self to shine through.  If people like it, great.  If some don’t, who cares.   You WILL rub some people the wrong way, and quite frankly, that’s their issue.

But, you will have unearthed a truer you, and there’s no greater peace than sitting in the seat of your authentic ‘self.’

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Pinterest)

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Light as many candles as you can

Buddha happiness quoteShare your happiness with everyone you meet, and accept it when it’s given to you.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Zen Pencils)

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Give it up for happiness

Happiness-Hands

‘Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things,  it will come and sit softly on your shoulder ~ Thoreau’

We all want happiness, but what would you give up to have it? There’s a story of a man who, unfulfilled by life, once told the Buddha, “I want happiness.”  Here’s what Buddha said…

i want happiness

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo is courtesy of the talented Gavin at Zen Pencils)

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Your extraordinary life

arm with extraordinary tattoo

I love this post from Amber of My Crazy Healthy Life blog.  A beautiful story of transformation and a desire to help others embrace their ‘extraordinary-ness’ and live a wholesome life.

“Make your life extraordinary” has been my mantra for the past fourteen years. Somewhere in my late twenties, I realized that regular just doesn’t work for me–I want more out of life. And so began my quest to become extraordinarily healthy. I traded in my running shoes for a yoga mat, stopped eating meat, and learned how to meditate. My new life was anything but regular. It also made me stronger, healthier, and happier than I had ever been before. Read the full post.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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(Photo: WeLoveIt)

How to be happy in one step

Step 1.  Let go of that which makes you unhappy

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

You are already happy

 happy elephant

“You are already happy. The reason you don’t experience it is that it’s covered up by layers of suppressed emotions and negative thoughts. Shift your attention and your inherent happiness flashes forth.”  Steve Ross

Smile it up, yogi

Source: Pinterest

It’s said that laughter is the best medicine, and I agree wholeheartedly.  Like crying, laughter is an emotional release that can have lasting benefits.  Laughing reduces stress, relieves pain and even boosts the immune system.  Plus, a good hearty laugh can be a good ab workout.   Studies show that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and seratonin.  The sad truth is, however, we don’t laugh nearly enough. Continue reading

If you’re happy and you know it, just sit there

woman happy yoga

“You are already happy. The reason you don’t experience it is that it’s covered up by layers of suppressed emotions and negative thoughts. Shift your attention and your inherent happiness flashes forth.” – Steve Ross The other day, I had … Continue reading